Israel’s demolition of homes in the occupied Palestinian territories has displaced hundreds of Palestinians, including 124 in just one day. The details have been revealed in a statement by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA): “In total, 54 structures were demolished in nine different communities in Area C, displacing 124 people, including 60 children.” The statement, issued on Friday, added: “A further 293 people, including 98 children, were otherwise affected.”
The occupied Palestinian territories are classified as Areas A, B and C. More than 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank comes under full Israeli military and administrative control and is known as Area C.
According to UNOCHA, the northern occupied West Bank village of Khirbet Tana saw its fourth demolition this year on Thursday. “Israeli authorities demolished 34 structures in the village displacing 69 Palestinians, 29 of them children,” said the UN body. “Many of the demolished structures in Khirbet Tana, which lies in an area declared by the Israeli occupation as a firing zone, had been provided by donors as relief after earlier demolitions.” It pointed out that “18 per cent of the West Bank has been closed for military training since the 1970s although recent research indicates that nearly 80 per cent of such areas are not used for training” by the Israel Defence Forces. “Since the beginning of 2016,” though, “36 structures were demolished in areas declared as firing zones, displacing 147 people, including 76 children.”
UNOCHA said that the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territories, Robert Piper, visited Khirbet Tana following its previous demolition in March. It said that Piper “warned of a risk of forcible transfer facing residents.” Observers point out that this is ethnic cleansing by any other name.
Comparing Israeli demolitions in Area C between 2015 and 2016, the statement said that the Israeli occupation has demolished 539 structures since the start of this year, compared to a total of 453 demolitions in all of 2015. It also said that the 2016 demolitions have displaced 804 Palestinians, compared to a total of 580 last year.